Despite repeated denials from China Mobile themselves, a slew of leaks have basically confirmed their deal with Apple to get the iPhone. Subsidy rates were recently leaked which give strong indication not only that the deal is about to go through, but also gives us info on what prices will be like. According to this latest intel, the only thing the two companies have been waiting for in order to finalize the deal was for China Mobile to receive their 4G license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). That confirmation came through yesterday, when MIIT issued the TD-LTE licenses to all 3 Chinese mobile operators.
According to a report from the WSJ, China Mobile will begin offering a TD-LTE iPhone 5S and other Apple iPhones on December 18th. Furthermore, the above iPhone 5S subsidy list was just published by the China Mobile Alliance, a Chinese government affiliated mobile industry association. From what we can see in the listing, the subsides are fairly significant, but aren’t that much different than what we have seen from other Chinese carriers. Here’s a quote with a small breakdown of details,
As you can see, the subsidies are significant, though not much different from what you can get from China Telecom and Unicom. The cheapest China Mobile plan starts at 88 yuan ($15) and will get you iPhone 5S 16GB for 4400 yuan ($722) on a two year contract – 900 yuan ($148) discount. There is no free iPhone 5S option on CM, but if you take the 358 yuan ($59) a month plan for a couple of years, you can get Apple’s flagship device for 1300 yuan ($213).
Most analysts have been predicting this new deal with China Mobile will boast impressive additional iPhone sell-through numbers of 15-20 million within the next 12 months. Considering the massive user base of China Mobile, it’s entirely possible these numbers might be pretty conservative.